BUSINESS

Lyft says it's growing 500% a year in ride count and revenue

Lyft's emblematic pink mustache was 'best user acquisition channel we had.... But now we want to polish it'

Uber may be the leader in the ride-hailing industry, but in a move that shows it can also play with the big boys, competitor Lyft announced Tuesday it is growing 500% a year in ride count and revenue. And, according to company co-founder John Zimmer, "we're gaining market share on Uber."

Zimmer would not reveal Lyft's share but, based on publicly-known data, there appears to be a wide gap between Uber and Lyft. Uber operates in more than 150 U.S. cities and has an international presence, while Lyft operates only in the U.S. in 60 cities. Uber has raised $4.9 billion in investor funding, while Lyft has raised $332.5 million.

Zimmer remains optimistic, though.

He told The Times that Lyft would stay focused on the U.S. market in the coming year. Instead of expanding to foreign markets, like Uber has done, he wants more people in the U.S. to start using Lyft.

Part of the plan involves a new marketing campaign that will kick off next week. The company is also adjusting its brand design: Lyft recently announced it is replacing its fluffy pink mustache that is mounted across a car's grille with a sleeker, far smaller "glow-stache" that sits atop the dashboard.

"I think it's a good first step," said Lisa Kane, strategy director of branding firm Siegel+Gale. "[The fluffy mustache] was a smart move at first because it got attention, but it also got gimmicky. Compared to Uber's brand, which gives a more premium image, the fluffy mustache was cheapening the Lyft brand."

tracey.lien@latimes.com

Twitter: @traceylien

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